It was great fun last Friday to hear everyone’s suggestions for Jamie’s turquoise, pink and burgundy bathroom. Jamie confirms that she had indeed been agonizing over the final decisions, and that the suggestions were very helpful. Meanwhile, I thought I’d take a stab at it, too — and you all made it easy what with your 60+ ideas to consider.
I took another look at all your ideas, then spent about spent about three hours playing with them to narrow down to this “mood board” for Jamie’s bathroom. To make my mood boards, I start with an “anchor” image that I must work with — in this case the “before” picture of Jamie’s bathroom, because it shows all the elements of the bathroom in one shot. Then, I start searching the internet for wallpapers, fabrics, flooring … whatever… that I want to try up against the anchor image to see whether they “work.” I used powerpoint to layer the images — I find this program quite easy to work with for this purpose. I find there is no substitute for smacking a wallpaper or fabric sample right up next to tile to see how it will look — things I thought look great may look ugh, and things I thought might look iffy sometimes pop. Even then: Doing all this on a computer screen is still no substitute for doing it in your real bathroom.
The #1 issue to be addressed in this bathroom renovation seemed to be: What to do with the vanity. I was won over by all the reader comments saying essentially, “Hey, you went to all the trouble to strip your woodwork, so why not stain it?” Also, Sputnik Housewares pointed at her bathroom with its wood vanity… I went and looked and thought, yes, that will look nice… the wood is an “earthy” anchor to all that glossy tile. The photo above is from Sputnik Houseware’s kitchen – same finish. The next question: What color for the stain? Either of the two finishes shown here (the other photo is from a bathroom recently shown on Ruth’s blog No Pattern Required) are both classic 50s. I’ve seen photos of the rest of Jamie’s house (she has lots other renovation going on). What I’d suggest: Match the vanity stain it to what you’re planning for the rest of the house. The house is small. Having the stain the same room-to-room will provide visual continuity and be easier on the eyes. Either stain works in my mind. But, I would not go to much darker than the first one.
#2 What about the walls? You know I wanted wallpaper! But, I could not find one that I felt really worked. The wallpapers that got “close” for me were those with a field (background) color a few shades lighter than the turquoise field tile. I did not think that wallpaper with a light pink field looked all that good. In addition, when I threw papers up with a strong burgundy in them — they looked fabulous! Really fabulous!
Anyway, continuing… So I could not find “the right” wallpaper. It certainly exists! But I needed to finish this post. So then I remembered that several readers had mentioned barkcloth. I went to just one place — Full Swing Textiles — grabbed two selections that had the right colors and voila, the one here worked gorgeously, I thought. Again demonstrating: This bathroom will look great by playing up the burgundy. Jamie: I think you could have this barkcloth (or one like it) made into a shower curtain and matching valance with stained wood shutters (find them from the Re-Store?) below. Paint your walls the field color of the barkcloth you choose — in this case, a tauped-out white (?). Wood trim of the window: Stain to match vanity. Then, add coordinating artwork, rugs and towels, maybe upgrade your cabinet pulls (for fun, if you want) and you’re about done. I would probably buy the rugs and towels in two or all three principle colors and switch them on and off — I do this in my bathroom, and it’s a nice way to change up the look easily.
I also liked this fabric because I thought it would also coordinate well with the white-and-burgundy octagon-and-dot tile that I had in my mind’s eye for this bathroom.
I found these octagon-framed Turners on ebay. I’m not saying the matte or the images are right — but the frames and the scale, I think, are. BTW, I have no problem mixing silver (or chrome) and gold.
And, I thought you could upgrade your hardware. How about this streamline cabinet pull from Crown City Hardware. In chrome or nickel, of course. It’s wicked expensive, though, like $30 per piece. but quite nice. Note, this is the ONLY vintage-style cabinet pull that I have ever found with a 2-3/4 inch center-on-center spread.
Finally, like several readers did, I want to call out this wrapping soffit. What a cool feature. I think I would try my darndest to play it up in a way that calls out the design but which, as some readers wisely pointed out, still does not tiptoe into clown-bathroom territory. The ‘answer’ depends on other factors. If you decide to paint the walls rather than wallpaper, how about a ligher shade of paint on the soffit… continuing to the wall with the door and then to the wall with the mirror and lights. But, there is a darker shade of paint on the window wall, which then connects to the toilet wall and wreps wrapping into the shower. That is: the walls that protrude with the soft get one color, the receding walls get a slightly darker version of the same color. If you do wallpaper, just use paper on the protruding surfaces, just paint on the receding surfaces (which include the inside of the shower.)
No matter how you slice and dice it, this is all tricky stuff. Making these decisions is a bit like doing a Rubik’s Cube: You must just keep twisting and turning the different design options this way and that until you get the combo “just right.” FOR YOU. That is, there is no single right answer here… fortunately and sometimes if feels like *unfortunately*, there are many possibilities that when put together with thoughtfulness and love — will be perfect. Good luck, Jamie, and let us know how it all turns out.